Catching up with OU hoops commits

Sooners group of five having stellar seasons, ready to come to Norman

As of right now, Oklahoma has five commits next two years. The crop of 2015 includes forwards Rashard Odomes and Christian James as well as the top-rated JuCo center Akolda Manyang. All three are already signed with the Sooners.

Edmond Memorial-product Kristian Doolittle and point guard Payton Pritchard, the highest-rated commit under Kruger, have both given their verbal commitments to Oklahoma for 2015.

Here’s a quick round-up of how each are doing this season:

2015 F Rashard Odomes, Copperas Cove

Odomes has been spending a lot of extra time working on his jump shot after practice, and it’s starting to show.

He’s averaging 25.1 points per game and has scored at least 38 points on three occasions. His head coach Billy White said Odomes could have had even more if he hadn’t pulled Odomes out of the game.

Odomes, who said that he still talks with assistant coach Chris Crutchfield almost every other day, is also averaging 12.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 3.1 steals per game. “I’m shooting it a lot more, pulling up a lot more,” Odomes said. “. . . I’ve been going after practice. It’s really been transferring over into the game.” Odomes, who was named to the All-Tournament team at the DISD Coca Cola Classic, scored 33 points earlier this week as Copperas Cove upset one of the top-ranked teams in Texas – Harker Heights.

When asked who his game most resembles on the Oklahoma roster, Odomes said Buddy Hield. Odomes’ numbers tell a similar story.

“I really like the way that he plays,” Odomes said of Hield. “I really like his game. He really works on offense and defense.”

2015 F Christian James

James, a 6-foot-5 wing, suffered a broken tibia late in September in the final tournament of his summer league.

He said last week that he won’t be playing at all this season despite having hopes that he could play by mid-January when he committed to Oklahoma in late October.

“I’m trying to get ready for next year,” James said.

He’s still working through rehab with a personal trainer and said he has just started sprinting again.

James will visit Oklahoma this weekend for the Sooners’ game against Oklahoma State. He had to cancel a trip in the fall but has already been to campus. This will be his first time driving up from his Houston-area home

Even with a broken leg, James was nominated for the 2015 McDonald’s All-American game on Wednesday night.

“It’s like my dreams are turning into reality,” James said. “Even though I still have a lot of work to do.”

2015 C Akolda Manyang

Manyang has spent the first part of the season in a cog of offensive machine.

Indian Hill Community College is averaging more than 100 points per game and maxed out at 147 points in a single game earlier this season.

The Warriors started the season 18-2 behind a deep bench that plays 11 different players between 14 and 21 minutes games game.

In 17 minutes per game, Manyang is averaging 8.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. He is shooting 58.2 percent.

2016 PG Payton Pritchard

West Linn has been one of the top teams in the state of Oregon this season, routinely holding the No. 1 spot in 6A.

Pritchard has scored 25 or more points on multiple occasions, and he has 59 points through the first two conference games for the Lions (8-4, 2-0).

2016 F Kristian Doolittle

There’s a more relaxed look to Doolittle’s game this season.

While he wasn’t concerned about college as a sophomore, he was in his first year playing significant minutes with the varsity team.

This year even with college in the forefront, he has played loose. It’s because he’s already committed.

“I think it kind of gave him a little bit more freedom mentally to just be able to focus on his teammates and just keep working and improving,” Edmond Memorial coach Shane Cowherd said. “. . . It does take a lot of pressure off of him off that way. He doesn’t really think about it now.”

Doolittle is averaging a double-double (17.2 points and 12.9 rebounds). He’s shooting 63 percent from the field and 75 percent from behind the 3-point line, where he could play more at the next level.

Cowherd said he thinks Doolittle can play on the wing at the next level or in the post, where his 6-foot-7 frame has put him during his high school career.

Doolittle is starting to play outside more now, stretching other high school bigs beyond their point of comfort.

“The wing game, I really don’t get much of a chance to play it because I’m bigger and taller than everybody I play against,” said Doolittle, who said no one else is really recruiting him since he gave his verbal in early December. “I just get put in the post to get easy buckets. Now, they’re starting to take that away. They’re starting to put their biggest guy on me. What happens is, I’m comfortable enough where I can go out there and be able to handle the ball and don’t have any doubt that I’ll be able to go by them or anything.”

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